What is everyone doing now that planting is over?

Casa Grande, AZ

Now that it's Summer I don't know what to do! I'm bored.

I shopped and planted all Spring. I babied and nursed and tended to everything in my garden. Now that it's officially Summer there's nothing for me to do. I live in a desert (zone 9b). I have rock not grass. I see only a random weed. Aside from one temperamental bush and two trees not a whole lot is required in the way of pruning or watering. There's no fruit or vegetables for me to harvest since I grow cacti and agaves and aloes. I put up my shade tents for them. It made them happier. After that they seemed pretty self sufficient and no longer in need of my constant motherly fussing.

So what now?

When it comes to gardening here in the S.W. being new, enthusiastic and simple on all accounts I find myself more willing to battle the heat than boredom. I rather bake in the sun and sweat. I would rather rake rock and shovel dirt instead of relax in a pool or sit in the air conditioned comfort.
To me it is more fun to get up in the morning a shove a hat on over bed head and take my most recent plant acquisition...my newest pride and joy...and spend time ruminating about where to place it. I cannot think of a better a.m. work out routine than to cradle my potted baby and carry (or drag) it from place to place around my yard. Examining it from different angles; observing how it works next to the other plants; thinking about how big and wide it will grow, does it need sun or shade, etc. Lifting it up and setting it down repeatedly until I found "THE" perfect spot. Then let digging commence! I was fired up.
I was eager and anxious when I did not have enough soil. It bothered me that my outdoor pots didn't match. I obsessed over when and how much to water. I felt like a failure if my plant died or like a rock star if it grew. (It didn't grow. I MADE it grow!)
Oh the joy of running to a nursery, plant shops, and even those big box stores for soil, tools and acessories. Soaking in a bubble bath with a good garden catalog. Evenings spent quietly perusing plants on the computer over a glass of Chardonnay. Sitting on my patio at night amidst my potted plants; just meditating in the moonlight and putting callous cream on my hands. Ahhh.....bliss.

Now I'm bored. It seems like there will be nothing else to do until Fall and that's minimal. My next big thrill will come in Spring.

Is everyone else bored too or busy as bees?
So what are you guys doing, or have lined up for projects?

Gilbert, AZ

You know this is a grand time to plant more cactus if you cover them with shade cloth. Sounds like you need to join the Central Arizona Cactus and Succulent Society - they're busy with something all year! How about an adenium for you? Some stapelia? You need more plants, girl!

Casa Grande, AZ

Crista you're brilliant! :D Thanks for the suggestions. I will definitely study up on the adenium and stapelia. It is so much fun to learn about new things here!
I'll also have to find time to look more into the C.A.C.S.S. in person. Saw their web site.
I didn't realize you could still plant cacti this late as I thought they needed more time to establish before winter. Hmmm.....here I go again.

What are you doing fun and getting your hands into/on Crista? Still planting?
What are your friends here on D.G. doing fun and planning?

Looking forward to hearing all about you guys.

Hope every one participates tomorrow. Then has an amazing 4th of July weekend. I know I will and will look forward to getting with you all then and reading what you guys got going on!

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi! Hope everyone had a stellar 4th of July! Had a nice time and even got a surprise. Friends who had not visited us yet in our new home came over for the 4th. They were kind enough to have brought me 2 small Carissa macrocarpa (natal plum). YIPPEEE. So today I get to plant those. :P
I think I'm going to put them along the walk way leading to my front door on the side that borders the yard. I'd like to pick up about 4 more if possible. My object would be to line them all up in a row and let them grow together into a low hedge about 3 feet high. I figure by the time they get this high they'll be able to keep my cow's tongue prickly pear from migrating too close to the walk and becoming a menace.
Has anyone else grown these in a cluster or as a hedge?

Also stopped into a big box store to grab a few necessary items for the weekend and found an amazing Agave parrasama. Yippee again. (O.K. I consider the plant a necessity my husband had other things for the grill in mind).
I get to put that in today. It's fairly mature so it'll be a bit of a beast to put in. I'll post pic later.

See Crista, you offer good advice. I'll keep planting until the end of July and using my shade tents.

So what does everyone else have going on? Did anyone spend time with their plants or in their gardens or just get stuck with people and food all weekend (eye roll, grin)?

What do you guys have planned for later...maybe fall or winter? Is anyone building anything, adding on to their gardens, planning to try some different plants, growing something in doors?
Let's hear about it! :P

Gilbert, AZ

Glad you got outside this weekend, Jacqueline! I did, too, but mostly at my parent's place. They live a few miles from us in Gilbert and my husband and I are their landscapers, handyman, etc types. My mom LOVES to collect succulents and cacti and has a side yard that my husband built a shade screen for so that they're all happy during the summer (the plant collection and my mom). Today I repotted a huge fang kalanchoe, an elephant food plant, and a something or other dragon tree that looks kind of like a greener version of a yucca. She really has a wonderful collection so I can't grouse too much because it's such fun to watch her plants grow! Our next project in her cactus/succulent area is to put corrugated fiberglass/plastic on top of the frame that holds the shade screen so everything won't get drowned with the monsoon rains. Last year we draped a big tarp over everything and it was a royal pain - plus it stretched the shade screen on the frames. With our earlier rains I tried clear plastic drop clothes over the plants - again a pain. So we're thinking if the area was just roofed over with clear stuff then we'd be good to go - the plants would be protected and I wouldn't wind up stuck with glochids every time I deal with the tarps or drop cloths!

On my home front, I'm getting ready to sow tepary beans!

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi Crista,
Sounds like you had some fun with your projects. Cool you got a second place to garden also...your parents! I think my neighbors want to draft me but since they rent are kind of hesitant. Although they haven't complained about the fact my plants have crept over just a little on that space "in between" our houses.
That's so cool about the succulent collection. The types, sizes, shapes, colors and varieties are just astounding and it seems like you could collect forever and not have them all. Kind of like shoes. Nice and smart of your husband to build a shade screen to keep the plants happy. Happy plants = happy and busy mother-in-law. :P Smart guy! My husband is kind of learning this equation in terms of me also.
Looked at the dragon trees on line as I had not heard of them before. Beautiful and interesting plants. Perfect for indoors also! Now I know what to put in that corner. Former house had all kinds of light and amazing windows but the way the light fell outside made gardening a bit of a challenge. Let's just say this house one is solar challenged indoors and amazing out.
You'll have to post some pics if you can of those shade screens. I don't even want to show you what my D.I.Y. shade tents look like. (red face). Maybe I can get some better ideas on how to make/construct them?
I posted some pics. Number 1 is the space along the side of my house that borders the walk way to the front door. It is about 1 foot wide by 14 feet long. This is what I want to make my succulent bed. (On the other side of the walk way is where I have my natal plum). This space gets full intense sun from approximately 5:00a.m. until 1:00 in the afternoon at which point it passes over the walkway and the space is in 100% shade.
So come Spring this is where I want to plant. I'm researching presently types of succulents that can stand high temps and sun and won't collapse and toast. Can I borrow your mom for awhile?
Pics 2-4 are my new Agave. Now I'm almost positive it is an A. parrasama. It could also be A. potatorium. I'm hoping someone makes a positive I.D. for me (I asked on that forum). I just love this plant but knowing my love for the Century Plant (we all got a favorite) I'd be so much more excited if it was the century plant that got the fat, odd shaped, stalk. It would be so unique to have in the garden. I'm hoping the plant mystery will be solved soon. Either way I love the look of this guy.

Let me know how the installation of the tepary beans go! :P
Keep planting and planning away!

Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1 Thumbnail by Agavegirl1
Casa Grande, AZ

Hi Crista and others.
So how went that bean planting?

Me, phew....tired and a little red! Forgot my sunscreen.
Moved my agaves back a few feet to get some shade. There was one medium and 2 small ones. Then in the back of the house I took a look and saw another that wasn't too happy either and starting to get scorched so I moved it also. Since my space in back is limited I had to swap the spots the Agave and another cactus were in.
So all in all dug up and moved 5 plants.
Also just popped in a Ferocactus gracilis. Took all of 15 minutes since it was small.

Best part was the bowl of rainbow sherbet when finished. Certainly made the sunburn feel better. :P

So what is everyone else up to?

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi Crista,
Just thought I'd check in and see how your Kalanchoe and Elephant food (so pretty and dainty) are doing since you repotted them? Also did you get your tepary beans planted as you had planned?

My project for today is to put my shade tents back up :( My Agaves were so happy too with the hazy sun and cooler temps. Their color had returned to normal and they were growing and looking "happy". Oh well, Summer in AZ.

A positive I.D. was made on the plant above. It was A. potatorium.

I took your suggestion and looked at the adenium and the stapelia...just beautiful the both of them!!! Thanks!
Do you know if the adenium would be o.k. outside? It says shade which would be perfect for what I'm looking for (next Spring) but it also resembles more of a house plant. Have you ever grown one of these or know somebody who does?
Also the stapelia is just exquisite! Looks like a cross between a succulent-cactus and orchid! So pretty. So far my favorite one has been the stapelia flavopurpurea. It looks like a star with the flower in it. So cute. Have you grown these yourself or know others who do?
I have a tendency to kill succulents (eye roll) so I'm scared to get something this pretty.

I have to read up on them or get with someone who knows them super well so that I can learn.
But still such a pretty and unusual plant I'm willing to try it!

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi Crista,
Just thought I'd check in and see how your Kalanchoe and Elephant food (so pretty and dainty) are doing since you repotted them? Also did you get your tepary beans planted as you had planned?

My project for today is to put my shade tents back up :( My Agaves were so happy too with the hazy sun and cooler temps. Their color had returned to normal and they were growing and looking "happy". Oh well, Summer in AZ.

A positive I.D. was made on the plant above. It was A. potatorium.

I took your suggestion and looked at the adenium and the stapelia...just beautiful the both of them!!! Thanks!
Do you know if the adenium would be o.k. outside? It says shade which would be perfect for what I'm looking for (next Spring) but it also resembles more of a house plant. Have you ever grown one of these or know somebody who does?
Also the stapelia is just exquisite! Looks like a cross between a succulent-cactus and orchid! So pretty. So far my favorite one has been the stapelia flavopurpurea. It looks like a star with the flower in it. So cute. Have you grown these yourself or know others who do?
I have a tendency to kill succulents (eye roll) so I'm scared to get something this pretty.

I have to read up on them or get with someone who knows them super well so that I can learn.
But still such a pretty and unusual plant I'm willing to try it!

Mesa, AZ(Zone 9b)

Hi Agavegirl,

Adeniums can take a good amount of sun, if you adjust them to it, mature plants that are in the ground may even take full sun here in the AZ. However, the issue here is not the summer, it is the winter. They are very tender and cannot deal with much if any moisture when it is cooler here

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi mcvansoest! :P and Crista too!

Welcome to projectville. That's good to know about Adeniums. I wasn't sure if they were just house plants or designed for outside. Since wet is a consideration I'm not sure they would do o.k. with the "soaker" rains we get sometimes 2 or 3 days during monsoon season. Would that be a problem?

I am currently researching for the "shadier-shady" side of my house that gets a maximum of 4 hours pure light and 2 filtered. The rest of the day it is pretty much mostly shaded but not completely dark. I moved my natal plums there. They seem happier.

I have no idea what to put where anymore due to the heat. What "says" it needs full sun is now frying. I put it in partial sun it seems better. I put things in partial sun when they say to they seem to prefer either full sun or shade. Sigh...whatever. Plants can move. Have shovel will dig holes.

I got didley squat done. I spent most of the 9th with my husband as that was his day off . Felt horrible the 10th and 11th. Today is the 12th. Well....

Today I got so busy helping my elderly neighbor who is 81 with the things she needed today that I didn't do the things I needed. I don't mind though she's sharp as a tack and still works a few hours a week as a bookkeeper but since she had back surgery she can do nothing that involves bending over. So of course....guess who helps her in the yard! Oh, she also has 2 kids relatively close by that say they're coming but never do. So, I just do it. I don't mind. I'm going to be her age one day and perhaps there will be a nice neighbor for me.

I didn't get my shade tents up. I didn't get my one Agave pulled out of the ground and potted. It is getting as burnt as one I already had previously. I didn't get my plants watered.

I did, however, did take 15 minutes and manage to throw mulch under my tree and my one bush! Yes....! Accomplished something.

Speaking of accomplishing I'm now going to cook dinner...LOL :D

I'll tell you guys what I WILL get done tomorrow. And what I'm rattling around in my head! (Aside from rocks) :D

Casa Grande, AZ

Mcvansoest and Crista you guys there?

I had a busy morning and got a lot done! I pulled my one Agave out of the ground. It was starting to look good and toasted like the picture of one I have posted in Succulents and Cacti (Sizzling Agaves). I really like this one and didn't want it to die since I had grown it as a baby and now it is a foot high and about 7 inches across.

Got everything watered...lightly...since it is supposed to rain within the next 2 or 3 days. Only a 10% chance. Reorganized my pots and tools in the garage.
Oh...finally put up shade tents. YIPPEE!!

Is anyone going to be building anything, making or designing anything for now, Fall or even next year? What is anyone planning or "dreaming up" for next year in terms of add ons, new plants, etc?

My project will be learning about succulent beds and shade/semi shade plants. I'm studying in earnest on succulents and what to plant in the bed. I need succulents to harmonize and grow with each other and a few other plants I put with them, withstand very strong heat part of the day, and not die over winter.
I also have to have something that will work in containers. I have huge ceramic pots that aren't easy to move and will be outside all year. I know what kind of light I get there. I just have to think about what to put in them for next year and how not to kill it.

So these are my big reading and research projects right now.

Casa Grande, AZ

Seeking all suggestions!

O.K. thought I would be smart and put Natal Plums on the side of my house. I thought, brilliant! They grow rapidly, stay low, are easy to trim and fill out nicely. They'll be perfect for what I want. Not easy to kill. (Ha-Ha; both of mine I got on the 1st died today).

The side of my house has been my trouble spot. It gets no a.m. sun until 9:00a.m. Then it gets beat on from 9:00a.m. until 3:00p.m. Then it gets absolutely no sun whatsoever after that. It also is the space between our houses where my property meets my neighbors. So I can't have anything too big or sprawling that will creep over the property line.

My other problem is the side window. I can't have anything bigger than 3 feet tall because I don't want it to cover the source of indoor light for my house plants and just indoors in general. I don't mind if it gets wide if the plant is able to be pruned.

So basically I have 6 hours of intense light and the rest of the day partial-mostly shade but all day intensive heat except for Fall-Winter.

I'll be contemplating what to put there but seem to have no ideas and hate to keep wasting money and killing plants.

I was thinking succulents but don't know the right types or mix to put in. I thought about a red flowering Yucca and ornamental grasses. I'd love to have something a little more exciting and perhaps that attracted butterflies or hummingbirds.
Any suggestions?
Let me know....please.

Gilbert, AZ

Hey, Agavegirl, looks like you've been busy! I got busy, but not with gardening, so my tepary beans still haven't been planted!

Are you able to build any shade structures that would show above the fence line for your side yard? That'd give you a few more options. Bouganvilla can on a trellis would take the heat and look pretty - they're buggers to keep trimmed, though. I'm thinking you're getting a ton of reflected heat during the time the sun does beat down in the side yard, so you've sure got a challenge! I don't think succulents can take that much mid-day heat and survive for you. Depending on the size of the space, and whether you want something that'll keep it's leaves, tecomas are something else that can take a lot of heat and survive. Pretty much anything, though, is going to need to wait until the heat breaks in October to go in the ground - the plants just can't keep up with the transpiration needs this time of year with the limited root systems they have coming straight out of pots.

Casa Grande, AZ

Hey Crista,

What's that story with those beans? Come on now! that are you waiting on? The problem with my side yard is it kind of makes a box like l--T
l l that .The left side is my neighbor' s house. The dotted line is his gate and the right side is my house wall. The gate opens and is the space between our yards. It goes all the way to the side walk and street in front of our houses. The corner of the "T" is where my back yard starts and where my wall of the house is . You live out here so you know how all these places are built with the brick walls around the back yard and basically you and a neighbor share a brick wall although there's space between your houses and yards. Weird right?

You're right about the succulents though. Completely abandoned the idea all together. Either they're just going to get toasted brown like potato chips or they're going to turn to black goo from rot due to my attempts to keep them hydrated. I'm not the only one so I don't feel so bad. Other people on the cacti/succulent forum have done the same thing and just gave up on them too. I feel sorry for the plants but much better about my gardening skills (LOL) :P

Soooo...I had been thinking things that grow relatively slow like Old Man Cactus. Ever see them? Tall, columnar, green with white fuzz all over them and really don't branch out much or if they do it's vertical and close and compact not sprawling. They don't get particularly tall either or it takes a long time. They like strong sun. Barrel cactus would be nice. I like them but they don't make me "sing" plus I already have 4 up front. There's all kinds of cute Euphorbia. That's just generic cactus. Well that's what I call it. There's 100s of them. It's like if it doesn't fit in a specific category (Saguaro, Agave, barrel, etc.) it's a Euphorbia! Some big some small. None look anything like the other. So there's lots to chose from. Tiny Aloes were a thought too.

I was thinking mini pampas or ornamental grasses also would be nice since they love tons of water and a lot of them are good up to zone 11 and a lot of them like full son. They've got some jazzy ones now with great color, texture and blooms. They're easy to trim also. Great textural interest too.
I like the Boganvilla. Now that's pretty! I just have to put up a trellis. I know they love the sun. Two would be great and I could put small stuff in the spaces between. :P
Hey now...Boganvilla, mini grass, Boganvilla, mini grass, punctuate at end with old man cactus. Hmmmm... So the side of my house IS getting easier to figure out!!!.

As for the small area bordering the walkway that leads to my house next to the garage. Sigh. Again so much for succulents and a succulent garden. Sigh. I really wanted one.
Again 6 hours of intense blazing sun and none from 3:00 on.
So far I bought a Parodia Magnifica (ball cactus) which gets pretty yellow flowers and a mammillaria hahniana (old lady cactus) which is a petite little round snowball of a thing that gets purple little flowers. I think I'm just going to plant interesting little "round" flowering things there. I can call it my "balloon garden" instead. See always looking on the bright side. :D (O.k. making due and making lemonade out of lemons).
I'll have to look into techomas. Not sure what those are. Have to look those ones up.

As for sun shades yep got them made. Hokey looking but working considering I am just covering my two Agaves up front. It's color has returned for the most part although it is still looking pretty limp and fried. My rule now in trying to get it acclimated since it has been growing is to cover at 104 degrees and above. At 103 and below I leave it alone. This seems to be going o.k.

So aside from having a conniption about what to plant where (I won't get started on those empty ceramic pots I have for the yard) what are you up to?
Every one....anyone ....else?
Let us know. Sure would like to hear about all the fun projects, plans, giggles, goals and frustrations.

Gilbert, AZ

Glad to see that you've got some ideas going, Agavegirl! Be sure you put plants with similar water requirements together - the grasses and bougies would look good together, but you'll need to cut back on how much you water the grasses to keep the bougies happy. Tecomas can take more water than bougies.Might want to check with Dave's Arizona cactus folks on the old man cactus. The only ones I've seen have filtered shade in the afternoon. There are some great examples at the Desert Botanical Garden - they have some great blooms in the spring, too, once they're old enough. I don't know how the mammilarias are with the midday sun - in years past you'd be able to go to the DBG and see which of the mamilarias they have sun screen on, but that area is under construction at this point with them putting in the new Heritage Garden. (Love the idea of a balloon garden!) It's surprising to me, walking around, DBG, how many plants have sunscreens over them during the summer! When we think of desert plants we tend to think that they can all take the heat and sun and it just ain't so!Make sure your agaves are getting enough water - good move to shade them!

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi Crista :D
Looked at the Tecomas! Very pretty. Also get very big. :{ Would be perfect in my back yard though. I'm not sure what's back there but they're small and sparse in the branch department. Although they're tall they look relatively young. I'd say less than 5 years old. I'd like to get rid of them. Now Tecomas would be a most excellent plant for there in the corners to replace these. Really don't like them anyway. They're healthy. Just pathetic looking and unattractive.

I have these A. Americana (Century Plant) pups I rescued much earlier this year from their soon to be dead parent plant that has grown it's stalk and is in full bloom. I've tossed them here, there and everywhere in the front and back yards with no thought.
I took 12 pups just assuming 1 or 2 of them would live and the rest wouldn't. Problem is all 12 are doing dandy and they keep getting bigger, and bigger and growing. (I've asked neighbors. Nobody wants them. Gee, wonder why). I do plan on keeping one. So it looks like a 10 square foot radius in the middle of my back yard will be monopolized by one of these gnarly little brats. (LOL). It's the only place big enough.
I shouldn't complain though. I always admired them and wanted one since I moved to AZ. They're so cool! Never realized they're also beasts and have some very nasty traits. Familiar with them? So any pretty tree will be stuck in a corner!
It also looks like come Spring some nursery is going to get a free 11 pup Century Plant donation! Or I just may take them out in the desert and set them lose. Plant them some place out of harms way and let nature take its course. I'm convinced you can pretty much fling these things out a car window and they'll grow where they land. I don't even shade them in my yard and they're just so happy! See...I can grow something AND keep it green. :P

The Old Man Cactus I have seems happy enough in the full blazing sun in the back yard. He's bloomed a few times. Nice fuchsia colored flowers. So I guess he can take the heat.
You're right about the water requirements (smack forehead). So it would either be cacti and bougies or pampas and something else that likes water.

Do you have this much problem garden planning?

As for the balloon garden glad you like it! Can't entirely take credit for it. Cacti and Succulent group swayed me from succulents and one member said look for small things like barrel cacti. So I started my quest. Found a few different little round plants that loved sun but no barrels that were going to stay small enough for the area. Tah-dah...the idea for the balloon garden came about. My mamilaries are loving the full sun so I just took a clump and put them in with the start of my new little project. They drink a ton of water though! (I use a cup to water them so nothing else gets wet)

Do you have any theme gardens or spots? Are you ever going to get those beans in?
Whacha doin?

Yes, been to the DBG. Amazing place! Just love it. We went during the late Fall early Winter. Gorgeous though. Loved it. Wanted to spend more time gawking at plants but DH only has so much patience. (eye roll). Ever been to San Tan Valley Mountain Regional Park? Spectacular. Some of the biggest Saguaros and Ocotillos I've ever seen in my life! Great rock formations. Some other unusual plants if you look around. Great hiking and walking trails (if you own a horse can ride) amazing panoramic views from the mountains over the whole valley. Great area to see sunset on your way out. Can come back and just sit in lot and star gaze. Thoroughly under rated place. Only $6.00 per car load..not per person!

I think it would be so much fun if we could organize "field trips/outings" for DG's members in our area maybe 1 time a month or 1 time every 2 months. Things like nursery shopping trips, visits to parks, even just walking local neighborhoods and community parks looking at various plants and yards and landscaping (I do that a lot and get garden and new plant ideas) and then going for lunch.
You're in Gilbert. Another person on my forum is in Mesa. I'm in C.G. I'm sure we could find others.
What do you think?

Casa Grande, AZ

Hi :D
So whatch doin'?
I'm hoping for rain again. Haven't had any yet. :(
If I don't get rain I'll have to water tomorrow. Things look so dry.
I've been working on the Balloon Garden :)
Having fun with it. Really economical too. All the little plants are between $2.00 and $3.50! I think the most I paid was for one and that was $7.98. So far for $22.00 I've got a most excellent start to the garden.
Let's see: Mammillaria nejapensis (silver arrows cactus);
Mammillaria mystax;
Mammillaria celesiana (golden pin cushion);
Parodia Magnifica (ball cactus, yellow spine)
Trichocereus grandiflorus (torch cactus);
Trichocereus poco
Rocks: free; collected locally and often

For some strange reason Trichocereus no longer exists so they fall under Echinopsis. Whatever (eye roll). But really happy I inadvertantly grabbed a torch cactus. Check out the pics of it's blooms on plant files and you'll see why! :D
So this is what I added to my Mammillaria frgillis and my Mammillaria hahniana (old lady cactus). Now I need an old man cactus! (LOL). I'll take pics for you guys.

So let me know what you're up to. Would like to hear.
Talk to every one soon.

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